Very difficult to be a bassist and not have an opinion on the late Jaco Pastorius. I recently stumbled across a classic interview from 1978 on the website dedicated to Jaco: “a portrait“. A few choice quotes:
- Jaco: “I did all my learning in the clubs. Playing eight sets a night. It was real killer stuff; going in at 9pm and leaving at 6:30 in the morning without days off.”
- Jaco on Weather Report: “this is the first notoriety with a jazz band, or whatever you call this kind of music. I wasn’t going to come out with anybody playing records until I did something on my own. I made my solo record (Jaco Pastorius) and then I decided I’d come out and work.”
- Jaco on his basses: ”I have a ’62 fretless bass and the one with frets is a ’60. I took out the frets myself and refinished it. I have a few other basses for practicing and stuff… …My fretted bass that I play on stage has three pots in it; one for each pick-up and then a tone control. But it’s one of those basses that had procentric knobs. Really old Fender Jazz basses had just two knobs and outside of each knob was a tone control.”
- Jaco on his amp: “I use an old Acoustic 360. One of them is the very first one I bought just about ten years ago. I use two bottoms, both stock.”
- Jaco on his stage sound: “I turn the bass on the amp all the way up because I only use the back pick-up on the bass. I never use the bass pick-up on the front so I have to compensate quite a bit with the amp. I have a sound that’s like an R&B-type sound which is real punchy and hits.”
- Jaco on right hand technique: “I use my first two fingers to pick and I use the other two fingers to mute as well as my thumb if I’m jumping around.”
The interview is well worth a read. If you have a hunt around on YouTube you are sure to find some video of him playing. Truly a legend.